Posted by vp19 on 2015.02.18 at 17:40
Current mood: contemplative
The romance-turned-tragedy between Hollywood icons Carole Lombard and Clark Gable has been told through books (including the new novel “A Touch of Stardust”), movies and other media. Now the story is available as a podcast.
Slightly more than a month ago — specifically on Jan. 13, near the 73rd anniversary of Lombard’s death — writer and film historian Karina Longworth created “Star Wars Episode II: Carole Lombard & Clark Gable,” a 41-minute podcast for American Public Media. (The term “star wars” here has nothing to do with George Lucas, the Force or what have you; it’s merely a reference to Hollywood stars during World War II. The first ep dealt with Bette Davis and the Hollywood Canteen.) The “YMRT” refers to “You Must Remember This,” the title of her podcast.
Listening to Longworth’s take on the lives of Lombard and Gable, enhanced with music and a few audio clips, is quite a moving experience. There are a few minor errors, to be sure. Carole’s birth name was Jane Alice Peters, not Alice Jane, and the film she was to have made with John Barrymore at the time of her teenage auto accident was titled “Tempest,” not “The Tempest”; the property was unrelated to the Shakespeare play. (Oh, and “No Man Of Her Own,” the only film Clark and Carole co-starred in but made before either was interested in the other, is ignored.) But it provides a pretty good feel for Lombard’s life and career — from her post-accident work for Mack Sennett, to her meandering status at Paramount, to her breakthrough with Barrymore in “Twentieth Century,” and from then the relationship that in many ways has defined her legacy (although her cinematic talent, proto-feminism and perpetual modernity has more recently come to the forefront).
According to Longworth, her main sources for the podcast included “Fireball,” Robert Matzen’s authoritative book on the airplane crash, and one-time Lombard director Garson Kanin’s memoir “Hollywood,” whose chapter on Carole is particularly vivid. She added, “And I didn’t realize until after I finished the episode that there was a biopic about the pair made in 1976, starring James Brolin and Jill Clayburgh. You can watch it on Amazon Instant Video; I can’t tell you whether or not you should.” (Based upon my experience with the movie, I wouldn’t watch it until you first read http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/47604.html and an interview with its oft-criticized screenwriter at http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/321033.html).